Christmas Cheer?

I love this time of year. Always have, probably always will. I love the scented candles, the amazing food - this time of year everything seems to be chocolate covered, which I'm always a fan of.
The beautiful smells outside, the decorations in our home; in everyone's homes. Its like re-tasting bits of my childhood every December and the magic that surrounds this time of year is incredible.

I do not love, however, the crowds in every store. How hurried to be first every adult is. How much traffic is on the freeways at all times of the day, or how sick everyone gets this time of year. Its insane. Its enough to make a person dread this time of year.

We don't do any "Christmas shopping" in stores, so its possible that's why I get bothered. Because I'm there just to grab every day essentials. And I have to wait in all the crazed holiday lines and weed through the crowds.
Since we live 2 states away from our families our shopping is done compliments of Amazon.com :)

This year began a truly fun tradition in our home {we've done it casually in years past, but nothing like this year} called Special Angels. 

Our kids were so excited to draw names and get this tradition going.
Each family member draws a name, secretly and keeps the name to him/her self. For the entire month of December they are a special/secret angel to that person who's name they drew. You show random acts of kindness to that person, but you keep your part of it a secret as best as you can. I never realized what a huge lesson this would be to small children! My kids so desperately want credit. They want to sit at the dinner table and talk about how creative and amazing they are {you know, much like adults do} and telling them they can't say a word about it is like telling them you're going to Disneyland, but can't say a word. Even still, I've been impressed with how well they've done.

We've had beds being made.
Cereal being poured and a nice table setting being made.
Hot chocolate was made by one child and sprinkles were put on top of the whipped cream.
School books were put away at the end of the day, surprising the child who was told "go put your school books away please." only to find out {gasp!} it was already done for them!
Bath towels being heated in the dryer to surprise the wet sibling with a nice, warm greeting.
What's blown me away the most is how my two older kids have thought this stuff up all by themselves!
I've actually had to slow them down with their creativity. Pace them, since there's 31 days in December.

I remember when I was younger, enjoying the happiness I saw on my family member's face. Knowing that something I did for them made them happy. Brightened their day. And it was hard to keep quiet about it, but I'm excited to see how that's spread into my adulthood. Wanting to help and love on others without a bit parade behind me, letting the world know I did it. That comes from God, not from me. 
I would definitely chose the parade ;-)
God has done so much for me. So much. If I knew how much, I'd probably be busy counting the ways for the next trillion+ years. Its amazing to me how much of His goodness gets ignored or referred to as luck, fate, or even people crediting me or others for the good things. When I know it all comes from Him first.

So I'm enjoying this Christmas season, just not the grouchy people who are too concerned with what gifts they'll be receiving, or the ones who pretend to like giving to others, all the while being crabby and obnoxious when they're out shopping. Check your motives and your heart, even during Christmas. Gift giving is sweet, but if the heart behind it was rude, greedy or continually annoyed - throw the gift away. You might as well. That's how God views it.

I also love hearing about traditions other people do this time of year - if you have a second {or two} please let me know what you guys do to make this season so special and memorable!

4 {comments}:

Emily said...

I love that!!! We need to do Christmas angels next year...it will be good for my kids. Our tradition is an family activity advent calendar. I have planned a family activity for each day of December, leading up to Christmas. Some are simple (have hot cocoa with dinner, make paper snowflakes for our windows). Some are complex (take a breakfast picnic to Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel and eat by the big Christmas tree). All are centered on family and enjoying each other.

Stef said...

That's awesome, Em! I really like that idea. Would be an awesome opportunity to enjoy Christmas traditions around Seattle!

Gina said...

Love good traditions--we need some over here. So far we've just been focusing on keeping it Christ centered

Stef said...

That's the best, Gina!


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